Oh no, it's another religious thriller still being churned out in the wake of the Da Vinci Code - or is it? Has someone actually been able to reinvent that well worn Dan Brown wheel and produce a book that reshapes the over used and buckled spokes of this genre? I think that with the Turin Shroud Secret, Sam Christer has just about managed it. Before I give my opinions and let you know why I think he's managed it, please find some plot details below.
There's a serial killer dubbed "The Creeper" on the loose in Los Angeles, and detectives Nic Karakandez and Mitzi Fallon are on the case. The killer wraps his victims in a shroud, and whilst researching the Turin Shroud for possible motives / connections to the case, they discover that a Hollywood scriptwriter who was working on a script concerning the Turin Shroud has been murdered, seemingly as a result of some potentially damaging information she uncovered whilst researching for the script. Is the scriptwriter's killer the Creeper, or is there someone else involved? I'm not saying anymore, you'll have to read the book and find out for yourself!
As I mentioned before, I wouldn't say that this is in the same class as those copycat, Da Vinci Code spin offs which all seem to have a title that contains some or all of the words "Symbol", "Magdelene" or "Genesis" in them. This is far better. I'll hold back from saying that it is as good as the Da Vinci Code, as that is a matter of personal taste and I know that it would only enrage the literati who dry heave when they hear Dan Brown's name mentioned in any discussion about books. That's a marmite style debate that I won't go into.
However, I make the comparison to Dan Brown as there some similarities in the way that it is obvious both authors have extensively researched their subjects, which comes across very well in the Turin Shroud Secret and adds to the "hook" factor which made me want to keep reading and find out more. The details concerning the history of the shroud brought colour to the plot. That said though, I can't say that Dan Brown is matched by Sam Christer for pace, but that isn't to say that this book is sluggish - it's just that it's more of a "hurty neck" compared to Dan Brown's whiplash.
I think that the two main characters, Karakandez and Fallon work very well together in the same mode as the male / female lead character couple in Dean Koontz's "The Watchers", or even the male / female couple in the Da Vinci Code. In many ways Fallon and Karakandez are very different from each other but this contrast gives a good balance to the plot as each has different ways of going about the business of solving the Creeper case. I found this to be a big plus point for the book.
I thought the plot itself could pass as feasible - I like my fantasy and reality to be clearly defined and it was easy to believe that this storyline could potentially happen in real life - there were no vampire vs werewolf Twilight style clashes and not an alien or talking dragon were to be seen.
If you like mystery thrillers with a religious bent, or if you enjoyed Dan Brown, or even if you're just a bitter Glasgow Rangers fan and would get some pleasure from reading about murders surrounding a symbolic relic of the Roman Catholic church, then I would suggest that you might enjoy this book. Five stars, thanks for reading.